Sunday, April 26, 2015

Reconciliation plan drawn up for estranged Baloch leaders: CM

By Azam Khan

April 26, 2015

Balochistan Chief Minister Dr Abdul Malik Baloch. PHOTO: APP

Balochistan Chief Minister Dr Abdul Malik said that a ‘reconciliation plan’ has been devised to lure back the estranged Baloch leaders into the political mainstream.

Dr Malik was the chief guest at Baloch leader Tahir Bizenjo’s book launching ceremony at the three-day Islamabad Literature Festival which was organised by Oxford University Press. The chief minister said that the new strategy would be shared with the federal government soon so that the process of political dialogue could be initiated.

In his Urdu book on the restive province, Tahir Bizenjo analysed Balochistan’s situation particularly after the murder of Nawab Akbar Bugti. Dr Malik termed the book a serious analysis of the Balochistan issue.

The event started with participants observing a minute of silence over tragic killing of rights activist Sabeen Mahmud in Karachi. Sabeen was gunned down while she was on her way back home, after organizing a seminar on Balochistan issue in which Mama Qadeer was the chief guest. The participants of the session chanted slogans and condemned the murderers.  This discussion dominated the entire second day session.  A small event turned to a heated debate on the issue. The civil society members were angered over failure of the state to protecting its citizens. Dr Malik made it clear that he wanted development but does not want Balochistan to become a colony.

He was upbeat about the security situation. The law and order situation improved by 60 per cent in two years that the provincial government has been in power.

From the day one, he said, there was a school of thought that was in favour of separation but the sense of deprivation further strengthened this approach. “Without analysing the exact situation, the successive dictators further worsened the situation,” the chief minister said.

In another dinner hosted in honour of representative of United Nations Office of Drug and Crime (UNODC) Cesar Guedes and Canadian High Commissioner Heather Cruden, CM Malik reiterated that poverty, backwardness and illiteracy were the main enemies of Balochistan, however government was striving hard to reduce poverty and bring development in the province. “Law and order, education, health and other sectors have also progressed owing to concrete steps taken by the coalition government,” he said.

Guedes informed the CM that UNODC was assisting Pakistan and Balochistan in provision of essential operational equipment to the ANF in Balochistan to control drug trafficking. They also intended to impart training to ANF personnel.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 26th, 2015.

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